Since Cheryl Pearl Sucher married a New Zealander in 1999, she has been living between two worlds: the Greater New York City area and the Hawkes Bay of New Zealand, two places that are about as far apart on the planet as one can travel. Though she has often felt torn between her very different lives, she has also felt that her life experience and artistic vision has been enhanced by living as both an insider and an outsider in such different but extraordinary places. This interview series is born out her experience between these worlds, and as a published fiction writer, bookseller, journalist, memoirist and avocational musical traveler.
In this edition, Cheryl talks to Jonathan Blum about The Usual Uncertainties. Jonathan Blum's highly anticipated first collection is storytelling at its finest. In precise, elegant prose, these stories follow characters and communities often consigned to the edge of the frame: a community college dropout, a geriatric care manager, a square dance bar mitzvah, a Scrabble club, an entrepreneurial Thai immigrant, and a South Florida country club. With echoes of Leonard Michaels, Mavis Gallant, and Lore Segal, Blum explores the ways our divergent histories tether us together and at times push us completely apart. The Usual Uncertainties revels in the persistent human struggle to love with abandon and marks a radiant voice in American short fiction.
The characters that inhabit these stories will break your heart and mend it simultaneously. A writer of immense talent and imagination, Jonathan Blum is unafraid to explore, sometimes hilariously, the most dangerous interiors of personality in ways we’ve never quite seen before. The Usual Uncertainties tackles the most primal of our human dilemmas with a vision as profound and achingly delicate as it is unforgettable. --Holiday Reinhorn, author of Big Cats
Jonathan Blum is the author of two books of fiction: Last Word (Rescue Press, 2013), a novella, and The Usual Uncertainties (Rescue Press, 2019), a forthcoming story collection. Blum grew up in Miami and graduated from UCLA and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His short stories have appeared in Angels Flight • literary west, The Carolina Quarterly, Gulf Coast, Kenyon Review, Playboy, Sonora Review, and Shanxi Literature, among others. He has taught fiction writing at The University of Iowa, Drew University, and the Iowa Summer Writing Festival, and is the recipient of a Michener-Copernicus Society of America Award, a Hawthornden fellowship in Scotland, and a grant from the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation. He has also been a guest writer at the Tianjin Binhai New Area International Writing Program in China. He lives in Los Angeles.
Cheryl Pearl Sucher is an award-winning journalist, essayist, reviewer and fiction writer who lives between Cranbury, New Jersey and the Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. She has been a frequent contributing book reviewer and feature writer for The NZ Sunday Star-Times and The NZ Listener. Her first novel, The Rescue of Memory, was published by Scribner so long ago she has forgotten the exact date and an excerpt from her second novel in progress, Alive Among the Ruins, was published in 2013 in Printer's Row, the Chicago Tribune's literary supplement. From July 2013 to April 2016 she was one of four presenter/interviewers for New Zealand Hawkes Bay Television's half hour interview program CHATROOM.